The Importance of Motor Development

 The Importance of Motor Development

Motor skills are the simple functions that require us to use physical movements of our body’s muscles to do certain tasks. Motor development is important throughout a child’s early life, because physical development is tied to other development areas.

Motor development refers to the physical growth and strengthening of a child’s bones, muscles, and ability to move and touch his/her surroundings. abies begin developing motor skills from the center of the body outward and from head to tail. They learn to control their head and neck before they learn to maneuver their arms; they learn to maneuver their arms before they learn to manipulate their fingers. Babies learn to move their torso before they learn how to move their arms and legs.

A child’s motor development falls into two categories: fine motor and gross motor.

Fine Motor Development

What is Fine Motor Development?

Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscles in movement with the eyes, usually involving the synchronization of hands and fingers and the ability to make movements using the small muscles in our hands and wrists. Fine motor skills are essential for the development of emergent writing. 

Fine motor skills help children perform important tasks such as feeding themselves, grasping objects, and drawing just to name a few. These abilities gradually develop through experience and exposure to a variety of toys, materials tasks, and even foods.

Examples of Fine Motor Skills

A few basics ways for your child to practice their fine motor skills:

  • Shaking a rattle
  • Stacking blocks
  • Gripping a crayon
  • Stringing beads
  • Doing puzzles
  • Dressing dolls
  • Sculpting with clay
  • Turning knobs

A few ways you can help them develop their skills:

  • Placing your baby on his/her tummy, and helping him/her reach for a toy
  • Walking with a stroller your little one can push
  • Placing a toy on the couch for your baby to stretch toward when a he/she starts to stand
  • Taking them to playgrounds, where your child can climb, swing and slide

Fine Motor Activities

Gross Motor Development

What is Gross Motor Development?

Gross motor skill development requires whole-body movement and involve the large muscles of the body in the arms, legs, and torso to perform everyday functions. Gross motor abilities also form the basis for fine motor skills and relate to hand-eye coordination, body awareness, reaction speed, balance, and strength.

Examples of Gross Motor Skills

We utilize our gross motor skills on a regular basis by:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Throwing
  • Lifting
  • Kicking
  • Swimming
  • Climbing

Gross Motor Activities

It’s important to remember everyone doesn’t all develop at the same pace. But there are milestones they usually reach at different ages.

For more information, check out our First-Year Milestones Month-by-Month Development Guide.